Palm Beach Donors Make Dreams Come True for 33 Families
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 3, 2016) Thirty-three families in desperate need of permanent housing will receive safe, secure homes thanks to generous supporters of Food For The Poor’s There’s No Place Like Home, Making Dreams Come True dinner on Monday, Feb. 29, at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach.
The homes will be built in an area known as Alpha Village, located on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, between the sea and a garbage dump, and in areas with the highest need in Jamaica.
Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor, presented donor John Trani with the 2016 Lifetime of Giving Award, recognizing his ongoing commitments to build homes in Haiti and Jamaica, to bring running water to people in Haiti and to help establish sustainable farming projects in Nicaragua.
“When we first started this journey, the idea was there has to be something that we can do other than just give,” said Trani, who lives in Farmington, Conn., and Sunny Isles Beach in Miami-Dade County. “There has to be something we can do to provide the dignity of getting up and going to work and helping people feel like they are making a contribution to their families.”
Aloma said Trani’s greatest gift isn’t his own career or academic achievements, which include three master’s degrees. It’s that he wants to share the success he’s had through hard work, education and training others.
“He wanted that gift for the poor, too,” Aloma said. “It was not enough for him to give people clean water or homes or education. He wanted them to feel the dignity of making a good living.”
Another highlight of the evening was the debut of a video showing the journey of nine women from Palm Beach County who joined Food For The Poor staff on a mission trip to Haiti in November to see the success of past projects and needs still waiting to be filled.
Amy Royster Bridger, a member of the event committee who traveled to Haiti, said she has witnessed firsthand the hope that Food For The Poor brings to destitute families.
On her first trip to Haiti last summer, she walked through a slum and peeked through a smelly, dilapidated shack made of trash to find three small children huddled together alone. Their father had died and their mother had gone to the hospital.
“These children’s faces were nearly frozen, their bodies were limp. There was a fear that I had certainly not seen in my own children. Food For The Poor promised to look after them,” Bridger said.
In November, when Bridger returned to Haiti, she saw the children and the mother transformed as they celebrated the inauguration of a new village built by the charity.
“What had been a miserable slum just a few months before, where children were wading barefoot in puddles of human waste, was now a neat village of brightly colored homes,” Bridger said. “It was one of the most exciting things I had ever seen.”
To watch a video of the group’s trip, go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/journeytohaiti.
Joining Bridger on the event committee were Malcolm and Lorrain Hall, Kimberly McGuire, Faith Morford, Robert and Janet Michel Nakushian, Sally O’Connor, Russell Sherrill and Mary Frances Turner.
At this Leap Year event, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with magician Karl Koppertop, dinner, music, a silent auction and a raffle featuring an all-inclusive stay at Fiesta Americana’s Grand Los Cabos resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Candy O’Terry, a musically-gifted, longtime Boston radio personality, performed songs from her CD Dream Come True featuring tracks recorded with the Boston Pops, Grammy Nominee Jim Brickman and the legendary Livingston Taylor.
O’Terry told guests she was personally touched when a Food For The Poor representative reached out to her and husband on the day of the Boston Marathon massacre on April 15, 2013, to make sure they were safe.
“I got home. I guess I had been on the air for 12-14 hours. My light was flashing on my phone. And the first person calling me was (someone from Food For The Poor),” O’Terry said. “That’s what I call creating a community of love and faith. It’s why I’m here.”
Opportunities to help destitute families in Haiti and Jamaica continue in April with a Sip and Shop event from 8 to 10 a.m. Thursday, April 21, at the Nest, a specialty home decor store located at 3416 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. A portion of the proceeds from sales during the event will benefit Food For The Poor’s home-building initiatives in the two countries.
For additional information regarding There’s No Place Like Home, Making Dreams Come True dinner, please call 888-404-4248 or visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/palmbeach.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
954-427-2222 x 6054